George Thompson Ruby

George Thompson Ruby (1841-1882) was a politician born a free man in New York. After college, Ruby went to Haiti where he worked as a correspondent for a New England newspaper. His job was to send information about Haiti to the United States for black Americans seeking freedom from slavery and racial trouble. He returned to the United States in 1864 and lived in Louisiana where he worked as a teacher. He left Louisiana in 1866 after he was beaten by a white mob while trying to establish a school. He joined the Freedmen’s Bureau at Galveston. He later became a traveling agent for the bureau.

In 1869, Ruby was appointed deputy collector of customs at Galveston. He was on friendly terms with Governor Edmund J. Davis and other prominent white men. He became president of the Union League 1868. It was the league that enabled Ruby to rise within the ranks of the Republican Party. Ruby was elected delegate to the national Republican convention in 1868. He was the only black person in the Texas delegation. That same year he was also elected a delegate to the state Constitutional Convention of 1868-69.

In the election of 1869, Ruby was elected to the Texas Senate from the mostly white Twelfth District. As senator, he became one of the most influential men of the Twelfth and Thirteenth legislatures. In the Senate, Ruby introduced successful bills. Ruby did not run for reelection in 1873.

In the late 1870s, Ruby supported the Exoduster movement, a popular, unorganized migration of more than 20,000 blacks from Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas to the Kansas frontier.

Source: George Thompson Ruby
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